Abstract

In the field of Onomastics, many researchers have delved into the study of personal names, place names, church names and school names, among others. This paper gathers another exciting data, (i.e. names that are ascribed to pets in Nzema society) and seeks to examine the morpho-syntactic features of the ‘pet names’. The paper employs the qualitative research approach in providing a descriptive analysis of the linguistic properties that feature in pet names among the people of Nzema. In this paper, ninety (90) pet names are discussed. Relying on Haspelmath’s notion of Framework-free Theory of Grammatical Analysis, the paper demonstrates that the morphological structures of Nzema pet names include single root morphemes, lexical compounding, derivational and inflectional processes, lexical borrowing, and reduplication. These word formation processes are accompanied by some phonological processes such as vowel elision and harmony. At the syntactic/sentential level, the pet names function as simple declarative sentences, imperatives and interrogatives. Compound and complex-embedded clauses were also prevalent in the structure of the pet names. It is ascertained that these pet names are grammatically insightful and can provide a window to understanding the morphosyntactic features of the Nzema language.

Keywords

Nzema pet names Onomastics Morphophonology Syntax

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